Policy, publications and announcements are moving to GOV.UK
Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary, writes about the release of Inside Government.
We said in the Civil Service Reform Plan, published earlier this year, that we wanted to open up policymaking. Today marks another important step along the way to reaching that objective.
By doing this, we will make it much simpler, clearer and faster for people to find out what’s happening inside government. Announcements, publications, speeches and other corporate information will be presented clearly and consistently. People can search by topic or department to find the information they need.
Presenting government policy
I am particularly excited about the way government policy will be presented and explained on GOV.UK. Instead of having to trawl through the websites of various departments and agencies, people will be able to find definitive information about what the government is doing, all in one place. Departments are working together, with help from the Government Digital Service, to develop a clear and comprehensive set of web pages that explain all government policies.
A more connected policy profession
But this isn’t just about presentation. Getting policy information out in this way will help the civil service policy profession to become more connected and collaborative; it will become much easier for civil servants to understand the wider context when they are developing and implementing policy; and it will be much easier for outside experts to feed in their views.
Opening up policy making
So this is also fundamentally about giving us new opportunities to work with people outside Whitehall – academics, business, experts, and the public – to develop policy in a more open, informed and collaborative way. By making it much clearer to people what we are doing, when and how, I hope we will be able to provide a clearer, more open basis for us to work with others who have expertise and insights to offer.
We will only start to see the full potential of this work once all departments have transferred to GOV.UK. There will, no doubt, be much to learn as we work through this process, and there will be many challenges along the way – getting the balance right between clarity and detail, making sure the information is up to date and definitive, and learning how we can continue to develop the way we present the information so it’s as useful as possible.
The two departments that have moved to GOV.UK today have blazed a trail for others to follow – they have worked hard to meet demanding deadlines, and taken all the risks involved in being the first. I congratulate them on their effort and thank them for learning a lot of lessons in the process that others will benefit from.